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03/08/2006 - 05/08/2006, Wacken Open Air 2006, Part 17 – Wacken – Germany

At the beginning of august, just before the Wacken festival kicks off, we always seem to get caught by the metal bug… Thursday the third, early in the morning, we set off for a six hour drive, this time our journey was pretty prosperous. Unfortunately we had to stand in line for an hour and a half to collect our passes and then another hour to reach the camping. Over the last years the Wacken festival has gained international renown and it’s not just Germans that attend the party but also more and more Finns, Norwegians and people from Holland and Sweden. Backstage we meet people from all over the world who have come to Germany especially for WOA, even a group of Japanese metalheads! For the first time in its history, WOA is sold out which has resulted in a slightly overcrowded festival site and backstage area, it seems to be twice as busy as normal. Unfortunately the number of toilets and showers (with cold water) has not increased and so the shortage is even worse than usual! Luckily we soon succeed in finding a spot where we can put up our tent. In short, we spent three great days at Wacken 2006 with great food (hotdogs and knobibuns), good coffee and beer and a fine cocktail bar! And, of course, top of the range METAL!!!



 

Thursday august 3rd

As we enter the festival site we encounter the Michael Schenker Group who are about to rock an enormous crowd for one solid hour. Bandleader Michael Schenker who became known as the lead guitarist of the Scorpions and UFO is clearly still very popular in Germany. There is no sign of hostility between Michael Schenker and his former band mates from UFO and the Scorpions, he even joins them for a couple of songs later this night. MSG kicks of with the classic song “Are You Ready To Rock”, followed by “Dust To Dust” and “Shadow Lady” off the latest album. The UFO period is represented by songs such as “Lights Out”. We also hear “On And On”, “Armed And Ready” and “Into The Arena”. Singer Jari Tiura’s pipes are working fine today and Michael Schenker squeezes some fine riffs from his black and white flying V. This excellent show is ended with ultimate hits “Doctor Doctor” and “Rockbottom”.

 

 

 

At 10 pm the Scorpions finally enter the stage and so the headlining act of “A night to remember-A journey in time” begins. Last year Nightwish did the honours, only to dismiss the lead vocalist Tarja some weeks later which made the show an even more memorable moment in metal history. Back to 2006 where the Scorpions open the show with the songs “Coming Home”, “Bad Boys Running Wild” and the first surprise of the night in the shape of “The Zoo”. The acoustics sound fresh tonight. After an excellent rendition of “Make It Real”, Uli John Roth, the first guest musician of this show, enters to join his old band mates for the songs “Picture Life”, “Speedy’s Coming”, “Dark Lady” and “We’ll Burn The Sky”. The crowd is well amused and although this is the first day of the festival, it’s already made the day for a large part of the audience. The crowd joins in singing along with hard rock classics such as :Love ‘em Or Leave ‘em”, “Don’t Believe Her” and “Tease Me Please Me”. Ex member Michael Schenker joins the Scorpions to play “Coast To Coast”, “Holiday”, ”Lovedrive” and “Another Piece Of Meat”. The drum solo that follows strikes us as slightly pointless and the band continues to play the songs “Blackout” and “No One Like You” with Herman Rarebell and guitarist Matthias Jabs. The last songs are announced and we hear the worldwide hit “Big City Nights” and the song “Can’t Get Enough. The crazy crowd screams for more and they are served with “Still Loving You”, “In Trance” and “He’s A Woman, She’s A Man” assisted by Uli John Roth and Michael Schenker. Tyson Schenker then joins the band to play “In Search Of The Piece Of Mind”. After all this the band leaves the stage for the second time only to return once more in order to play “Dynamite” and “Rock You Like a Hurricane” during which a gigantic mechanical Scorpion arises from behind the stage, much to the pleasure of the crowd. The Scorpions made history tonight with an outstanding three hour performance .Packed with classic hits from their repertoire of nearly forty years, and a number of guest appearances by former band mates. Hail to this worthy headliner.

 

 

Friday august 4th

 

Black Stage

 

Despite the early hour, Legion of the Damned succeeds in entertaining the crowd for 45 minutes. Early this year the band released the death/thrash album “Malevolent Rapture” and so today’s set comprises of songs off this album. LOTD play the songs “Werewolf Corpse”, “Death’s Head” March” and ”Demonist”. Unfortunately the acoustics are not up to scratch and afterwards we learn that many bands on the black stage have to deal with this problem. The band continues with the songs “Taste Of The Whip” and “Into The Eye Of The Storm”. LOTD really start to warm up the crowd now and they play the title track of their debut album followed by “Bleed for me” and “Legion Of The Damned”. LOTD worked hard today and have probably managed to gain a number of new fans through this fine show.

 

 

After an odd 17 years the time has finally come for a Carnivore reunion and the Wacken festival has the honour to host this band that belongs to the classics. As This is the only European show the band will play this year, large quantities of fans from all over Europe have flocked to Wacken to witness the Carnivore show. The band takes the stage and plays a couple of Type O chords after which Peter Steele proceeds to thank the audience, the whole band leaves the stage only to re enter and play the rest of the set as a lengthy encore. We hear “Thermonuclear Warrior”, “Raise War” and a sample of “Jack Daniel’s & Pizza”. It seemed to me that few people in the crowd knew that Carnivore was Peter Steele’s band as it was surprisingly easy to acquire a spot right in front of the stage. The show was extremely enjoyable to say the least! A Rather pointless drum solo is thrown at us and then Carnivore continues to play “Angry Neurotic Catholics”, “Male Supremacy”, “Inner Conflict” and the Beatles cover “Helter Skelter”. The show is ended with the songs “S”.M.D” (Suck My Dick), “Jesus Hitler”(which kind of silences the German crowd), “World Wars III and IV” and “Sex & Violence”. During the last song the band is accompanied by ten scarcely dressed women who try to excite the crowd by spraying them with super soakers. All togetherl a great show. I wonder if Mister Steele will honour any other European countries with a visit any time soon.

 

 

This year Wacken has succeeded to book the re-united band Celtic Frost as one of its headliners. Celtic Frost have recently picked up where they had left off and have produced the fine album entitled “Monotheist”. It’s first official release in fourteen years. After a short intro we hear the first classic in the shape of “Procreation Of The Wicked” followed by “A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh”, “Necromantical Screams”, “Into The Crypts Of Rays” and favourite “Circle Of The Tyrants”. The band was really into it although the acoustics were mediocre. Most of the old tracks were played in a slightly slower tempo than usual which gave them an especially heavy sound. The latest album “Monotheist” was not forgotten; near the end of the set we are pleasantly surprised with a fourteen minute rendition of “Sinagoga Satanae” Which contains a number of extremely heavy riffs, excellent drums and Latin/German lyrics. The German spoken parts sound especially eerie. After this diverse set Celtic Frost leaves the stage far too soon, we could easily have coped with another hour!

 

 

True Metal Stage

 

Due to the diagnosed end-stage kidney failure of guitarist Steve Smyth, Seattle-based band Nevermore have brought along Jag Panzer guitarist Chris Broderick to assist them musically on their European tour. Nevermore kicks off with the song “Final Product” followed by “The River Dragon Has Come”, “I Voyager”, “Dead Heart In A Dead World” and “Engines Of Hate”. Despite what seems like an endless cycle of setbacks, the band radiates passion and enthusiasm which results in one of the best shows of the day. The crowd goes nuts, there’s people crowd surfing all over the place when Nevermore start to play the title track of their previous album “Enemies Of Reality” which is followed by “Narcosynthesis”. From the six albums Nevermore has released, today the emphasis is on their latest product “This Godless Endeavor”. As a grand finale we are treated to a sublime nine minute rendition of the epic “This Godless Endeavor” and a brutal version of “Born” during which vocalist Warrel Dane requests the crowd to try and break the crowd surfing record, success guaranteed! From this space we would like to wish guitarist Steve Smyth a speedy recovery while we wait for the shows Nevermore will play later this year in support of Disturbed.

 

 

Judging from the fact that Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen has been hanging out at the backstage bar, I expect this will be a fun show. Jourgensen was in good spirits, not just a figure of speech! The acoustics are still not top notch and to make matters worse, the volume is cranked up so loud that a large part of this fine music is not audible. Ministry kicks off with the songs “”Fear (Is Big Business)” followed by “Senor Peligro”, “LiesLiesLies”, “Khyber Pass” and the title track of the recently released album “Rio Grande Blood” which is an old-fashioned tirade against the American administration and Bush in particular. With the previous Ministry album entitled “Houses Of The Mole” Ministry had already returned to its original style which gained them their illustrious reputation at the time of their big break album ‘Psalm 69’. Most songs of today’s set were taken from this album and so we hear “Now”, “Waiting”, “Worthless” and “Wrong”. Near the end of the set we get classics “N.W.O.”, “Just One Fix” and “Psalm 69”. Nothing but praise for this performance, Al Jougensen managed to incense the crowd and Joey Jordison certainly lived up to his reputation as a class drummer. Unfortunately the bad acoustics took the show down a little, next time we will definitely have to go and see Ministry at a club show!!

 

 

Party Stage

 

Come the new Millennium, Soilwork finally managed to get foot on solid musical ground with the release of their two remarkable albums ‘Natural Born Chaos’ (2002) and ‘Figure Number five’(2003), followed by ‘Stabbing The Drama’ in 2005. The moment the first song “Bastard Chain” from ‘A Predator’s Portrait’ blasts from the speakers, the very large crowd goes wild. Soilwork has built a solid reputation when it comes to their live performances and today they certainly live up to it. We hear “One With Flies”, “The Chainheart Machine”, “Overload” and “Follow The Hollow” among others. There’s a lot of crowd surfing and singing going on and we enjoy the unique sound of this band. We hear “Nerve” and “Stalemate” from the ‘Stabbing The Drama’ album. Soilwork really rips into it, the guitarists almost knock each other off the stage in their enthusiasm. This fine show is ended with a solid rendition of the song “As We Speak”.

 

 

This space was reserved for a review of the Primal Fear show, however due to the late hour at which the band was scheduled (2 pm.) we decided to call it a day and skip this party. Plenty of good music in the morning!!

Dutch hard rockers Mennen played try-out shows in the press centre backstage on Friday and Saturday. The band recently signed a deal with Armageddon Music and their first release ‘Freakalive’, a live album, is due on October 13 2006. The album was recorded in Cincinnati USA where Mennen also recorded ‘Planet Black’, a studio album which will be released later this year via Armageddon Music. Although this band had serious competition on the main stage they managed to draw plenty of attention from the international press. Slightly nervous, the band kicks off with the song "Can't Get It Out Of My Head", "Bob" and "The World Stopped Turning". After the fist songs the pressroom starts to fill up and the band really gets into it. They speed things up with the songs "On Fire" and "Down". This relatively short showcase is concluded with the song "Power To The Bone". Playing this set was definitely a smart move for Mennen; many of those present were well impressed by the band's performance. Despite the lack of sufficient equipment, Mennen managed to pull this off, maybe this will result in a show on one of Wacken's main stages next year...

 

 

Saturday august 5

 

Black Stage
 


When Morbid Angel takes the stage the sun is burning red hot. No special lightshow for the dark death metal band from Florida today. But no worries, Morbid Angel are ready to party with original singer/bass player David Vincent who recently re-joined the band for this European tour. For the occasion they also brought along special guest Erik Ruton. Today Morbid Angel play songs mostly off the first four albums such as “World Of Shit”, "Fall From Grave" and "Where The Slime Live". We are thrilled to hear renditions of "Pain Divine", "God Of Emptiness" and "Sworn To The Black". After seventeen years the tracks off Morbid Angel's debut album ‘Altars Of Madness’ still intrigue us. We hear "Maze Of Torment", "Chapel Of Ghouls" and "" Immortal Rites". After all these years the band is still going strong, especially drummer Pedro 'Pete' Sandoval who will also star on the soon to be released new Terrorizer album. Horns up for Morbid Angel who prove once again that they still belong to today's death metal summit.

 

 

It's 01.30 am. When we make our last trip to the black stage where the guys from Finntroll are about to start a party of their own. Last year the band played the party stage which turned out to be far too small. Their crazy mix of Finnish Folk music, Humpa, thrash, black and death gets the mood going and the crowd goes nuts when Finntroll play their hits "Trollhammaren", "Människopesten", "Segersang" and "Jaktens Tid". The security is forced into overdrive by the ongoing stream of crowd surfers and the band is clearly having a blast. The new Finntroll lead singer Matthias Fillmanns seems to have settled into the band very nicely. The band plays a number of tracks off their new album which is due to be released soon. Last song for the night is "Det Iskalla Trollblod" after which we return to our tents; tired and satisfied.

 

 

True Metal Stage

 

A few years back when Fear Factory vocalist Bruton C. Bell decided to call it quits, this appeared to be the end of the band. Thankfully, miracles still happen and in 2004 the band got back together and even recorded a new album. This was followed by an extended European tour and the release of the well-received album “Transgression” in 2005. Today the band consists of Burton C. Bell (vocals), Christiaan Olde Wolbers (guitar), Raymond Herrera (drums) and bassplayer Byron Stroud (Strapping Young Lad, Zimmershole). Fear Factory is off on a rough start today. Burton is hardly audible during the first songs. The drums are too loud and too much sound is lost in the wind. For this set Fear Factory have chosen mostly songs off their most recent albums, such as title track “Archetype”. Of course classics such as “Demanufacture” (1995) are not forgotten. Guitarist Christiaan Olde Wolbers’ birthday is mentioned after which the show is ended with the song “Replica”. Even though Fear factory has a good live reputation they were not very convincing today, they probably had the worst acoustics of the day.

 

 

Next up is Whitesnake. The band formed around vocalist David Coverdale now has the following members: Doug Aldrich (Ex House Of Lords, ex Dio), Reb Beach (ex Winger, ex Alice Cooper) and Tommy Aldridge; a group of specialists when it comes to classic material. The band kicks off with Deep Purple classic “Burn” followed by “Fool For Your Lovin’” and so this party begins. “Love Ain’t No Stranger”, “Sweet Satisfaction” and “Is This Love”, we hear them all. After the song “Let It Out” the guitarists rev up the crowd with some fine solos. The crowd joins Coverdale in singing Evergreens “Crying In The Rain” and “Here I Go Again”. Veteran Tommy Aldridge gives away an inspiring drum solo which he ends using his hands, chucking his sticks. As an encore Whitesnake plays “Still Of The Night” and “Bad Boys”. Although the crowd is well pleased we must note that Coverdale just can’t manage the higher notes for which he needs the vocal assistance of his band members. On the other hand, the stage performance is a lust for the eye. So ends another fine show.

 

 

On the party stage the re-united melodic thrash cult formation Atheist will entertain the crowd for approximately one hour with their intricate thrash. Today, Atheist is vocalist Kelly Sheafer, bass player Tony Choy (Death, Cynic) and drummer Steve Flynn. For the European festival shows the band is assisted by guitarist Chris Barker who replaces original Atheist band member Rand Burkey, and Sonny Garson who will deal with Sheafer’s guitar parts. We hear a number of songs such as “On They Slay”, “Unholy War”, “Retribution”, “Breathe” and “Modern Man” with a jazz-like bass solo by Tony Choy. On they go with “And The Psychic Saw”, “Piece Of Time and “I Deny”, which is played in memory of the untimely deceased original Atheist bass player Roger Patterson, followed by “An Incarnations Dream”. Excellent show.

 

 

After a short delay due to the overrun Motorhead show it’s now up to Rose Tattoo to entertain the ever restless crowd. As they enter the stage the gentlemen help themselves to a bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label, this certainly sets the tone for a fun packed show. After some initial guitar problems (read: no sound at all) they get the mood going. After the tragic demise of guitarist Pete Wells earlier this year it is good to see the band play Rose Tattoo classics such as “Rock ‘n Roll Outlaws”, “Bad Boy for love” and “Remedy” with such commitment. Rose Tattoo still knows how to rock. Unfortunately we have to cut this short as we want to go and witness the Finntroll show which is now scheduled simultaneously.

 

 

Once again the Wacken organisation can look back on a successful festival. Although Wacken 2006 was sold out it was still relatively easy to acquire food and drinks. The queues for the showers and toilets on the other hand seemed endless, especially in the backstage area where there were only ten shower cabins (with cold water only) which were shared by some 2000 people!! Thankfully the bad weather forecast turned out to be wrong with temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius and only the occasional light shower of rain..

 

 


The Wacken festival has become a force to be reckoned with, even before the end of the 2006 edition the organisation can announce the first names for the 2007 billing: Blind Guardian, Stratovarius, Schandmaul, Therion, Samael, Grave Digger, the re-united Immortal and Saxon will come to entertain us next year. You can count on us to be there!! Rain or shine, see you at Wacken 2007!!!!

 

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